• The Business Owner

Microsoft Office 365 – An Overview With Pros & Cons

Whilst in a meeting recently I was asked how good our online security is now that we are a cloud-based, homeworking-based company. I looked at the chap, Justin was his name, and proudly proclaimed that we had everything we could in place to make sure our data and more importantly our customers data was secure. I’d had an awful experience in 2018 with a trojan getting through an email account, via a member of staff, that destroyed the machine and took weeks to sort out. He looked at me quizzically and said ‘Excellent, although you don’t have multi factor authentication and that is a weak spot….’ The meeting concluded and I immediately got in contact with my IT Service Contractor (Microsoft Service Partner) who switched it on within seconds. The moral being, however good you think you’ve got it, there is always room for improvement. I asked Justin, a consultant in SME IT, if he could give the Business Owner Magazine a brief overview on Office 365.

‘Covid19 has changed the way businesses operate forcing IT strategies to change to embrace more cloud technology to enable remote working for your workforce.

Microsoft o365 provides a line of subscription services depending on your business needs. The plans can be purchased on a monthly or annual basis and allow the use of the Microsoft Office software suite over the life of the subscription. The Office 365 service consists of several products and services which can be managed and configured through an online portal.

Microsoft o365 is very similar to the traditional perpetual Office license and includes popular applications such as Work, PowerPoint, Outlook, Excel. Depending on the plan you purchase it may also include other apps and services such as Planner, One Drive which includes 1TB of storage per user, Exchange, SharePoint, Access, Yammer, Microsoft Teams and the list goes on.

Over a billion people use Office products worldwide. However, for businesses, Office offers a great deal more to enable users to carry out everyday tasks like managing data, creating documents and communicating information. There is a variety of plans and each with a different combinations of tools.

With Office 365, all apps and services are connected, both to each other and to the wider web, facilitating teamwork, saving employees time and enabling them to work better together through tools such as team chat, TEAMS online meetings, file sharing, and group emails. The inclusion of cloud storage and mobile apps in the Office 365 suite also allows organisations to work wherever, whenever, securely from any device.

Data security has to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind which is why many businesses choose Office 365 because of its layered security measures, proactive data monitoring, privacy protection, and 99.9% uptime service level agreement. There are additional layers of security available which businesses should also consider implementing such as multi factor authentication. MFA provides an extra layer of protection from anyone trying to access an account from an unauthorised device and it works slickly. It has building blocks that will help keep your business GDPR compliance.

A lot of businesses assume Office 365 is backed up however you need to carefully review that what comes with 365 is sufficient for your company needs. Typically, there’s only a 30-day retention period built into Office 365. Many businesses build on this and practise the 3, 2, 1 rule of backups - 3 copies of your data on 2 different platforms one of which should be offsite, using a 3rd party application. Proper backup will keep your data secure and get you back online faster in the event of a Ransomware attack. It ensures that your business stays online and that you never lose your data.

When considering a move to o365 think about which applications your business requires to ensure that you purchase the correct plan for your users. Think about compliance and security to protect your data and users and make sure you have a business continuity plan in place so that you can recover your data in the event of a disaster or loss of data. And finally train your users on the applications so that you get the most out of your investment.’

For more information on starting your journey with Microsoft o365 feel free to get in touch via hello@justinrichmond.co.uk